IN THIS ISSUEAlumni Spotlight
Meet a Student
After only eight years in the television business, Jennifer Mihalic ’02 can say that she helped her television station reach a pinnacle this year.
She learned that a heart-rending story she produced for WYFF-TV in Greenville, S.C., about a woman who lost her husband and donated his organs, won a coveted Peabody award. The international award is given for excellence in radio and television broadcasting.
Mihalic, a senior producer at WYFF, has produced newscasts at the station in every time slot since she started as an intern while at Winthrop.
“I literally got a job offer for associate producer before I graduated Winthrop,” said the Anderson, S.C., native. She worked her way up through the ranks, even taking the dreaded overnight shift. Now a senior producer, Mihalic oversees the 6 p.m. broadcast and helps other producers.
WYFF won the Peabody for “Chronicle: Paul’s Gift.” Amazingly, the show was the station’s first edition of a prime-time special that goes into detail about different topics. This particular Chronicle looked at the importance of organ donation, Mihalic said, and Paul’s widow’s decision to donate his organs.
“We showed the pain she went through, as well as the lives of the people who received Paul's organs,” Mihalic said of the local woman. “It was a touching story of sacrifice and the love that lives on through organ donation. Paul's wife met with each organ donor recipient and had instant connections with each person.
“The most moving part of the special was when she met with the man who received Paul's heart. She got to hear Paul's heartbeat live on in this other man.”
Mihalic said this is the station's first Peabody and only a few local affiliates won awards this year. “We were right up there with the big guys,” she said. “It is quite an accomplishment.”
This summer, Mihalic will be working with a Winthrop intern who hopes to follow her into the news business. Mihalic probably will tell the intern what she tells all interns and what her journalism professors told her: “Make yourself known at your internships and make connections.”
She has seen many interns fade into the crowd unless they make a point of getting involved. “Too many of them sit at their desks and plug away at the Internet,” she said. “That's no way to make connections.”
What they’re missing, she said, is the thrill of breaking news happening. “I love that while the news is going on, I'm in the control room ready to make a split second decision on where to go next,” she said. “There's an immediate payoff – seeing my decisions trickle down to the crew and on air.”
She is proud of her work and its service to the community. “I help a team of people get the news to the public. Of course I'm not saving someone's life, but I am making them more knowledgeable of the events of our area.”
5/28-5/29 - Athletics: Track and Field NCAA East Region
Through 5/29 - Athletics: Big South Conference Baseball Championship
6/3 - Alumni: WU at the Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Cincinnati, Ohio, 6-10 p.m.
Through 6/4 - Maymester
6/12 - Alumni: Winthrop Goes to Piccolo Spoleto, Brittlebank Park in Charleston, S.C., 2-6 p.m.
6/14 - Admissions: Student Orientation 2010 (summer) - Four sessions begin June 14
6/14 -Admissions: Family Orientation 2010 (summer) - Four sessions begin June 14
Through 6/18 - Winthrop Galleries: “Preparing for Ed: The Art and Artifacts of Edmund Lewandowski – Precisionist”
8/18 - Admissions: Orientation 2010 (fall) - Session V begins Aug. 18
8/23 - Convocation, 4 p.m., Byrnes Auditorium
8/24 - Classes begin
8/27 - DiGiorgio Campus Center Open House, 2-5 p.m.